Document Type


Publication Date



The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) has long been the cornerstone of the international effort to retard the spread of nuclear weaponry to additional countries, now appreciated as the greatest post-cold war threat to international peace and security. Under this treaty, the parties also undertook to pursue in good faith additional negotiations leading to further reductions in nuclear weapons-and, in fact, such subsequent bargaining has recently yielded dramatic, far-reaching successes. Professor Koplow, however, argues that in one crucial respect, the United States has been derelict in implementing the obligations of the NPT: Recent American presidents have rigidly refused to participate in negotiations that could lead to a comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty, abolishing all nuclear explosions everywhere. Although the NPT's requirement of test ban negotiations is ambiguously stated, a close reading of the legal materials establishes that it was a key ingredient in the basic bargain of the NPT, and that numerous countries consider it a major, unresolved treaty controversy. Professor Koplow contends that this United States refusal to pursue a test ban treaty is not merely unwise strategy, it is a violation of the country's international law commitments, exposing the United States to legal remedies and undermining both the global nonproliferation regime and the more general campaign to build support for a new world order based upon greater fidelity to the rule of law.

Publication Citation

1993 Wis. L. Rev. 301